Oregon resident Dennis Mulyar has been studying and working as a filmmaking for the past three years. He loves what he does, and doesn’t see himself doing anything else. He is currently working on 5 Words, a short film inspired by events passed down in his family’s history.
What is your educational background or training?
The interest in filmmaking started in high school. I had a media teacher who really inspired me and pushed my limits. She saw something in me that I didn’t, and that drove me to discover my talents. My local church was also a big part of my filmmaking career. I had the opportunity to plan certain projects, and that really gave me a chance to grow and see what I am capable of. Currently, I am working on my bachelors degree in digital film & video.
Tell us about your inspiration for writing 5 Words.
My inspiration for 5 Words was my grandmother. The events in my short film are based off of her life, and the persecution she went through while living in the former soviet union during the 1950’s & 1960’s. On a larger scale, this project was inspired by the many stories I have heard from my relatives and friends. I come from a Ukrainian background and most, if not all of my relatives who immigrated from the former Soviet Union were heavily persecuted for their faith. That is why many of them moved to the states; to seek religious freedom. 5 Words is a film set in the year 1958, Former Soviet Union. It is an interrogation of a young woman who was taken in to be questioned for her faith, and was threatened to be killed if she didn’t sign the proper papers which will be used against her, as well friends.
How did you find your actors and crew?
I attended a church play a few months back, and there I discovered my two main actors who were apart of that play. After viewing what they were capable of, I immediately had the desire to work with them. When I had the opportunity to create this short, I had no second thoughts on who I wanted to star in my short. Most of the crew that I had working on-set were people that I have worked with before, and so we were all very comfortable with eachother. At the time of the first production meeting, I had never met my Director of Photography in person. We met online and always spoke about getting together for coffee and talk about doing projects. Then the time came for this project, and I suggested this role to him. He excitingly took it, and during our first production meeting we officially shook hands for the first time!
What was the greatest challenge you faced with filming?
One of the greatest challenges during filming was when my main actor, the Interrogator, got sick. He wasn’t able to be on-set the first day of the shoot, and so we had to do a bit of rescheduling in order for him to be filmed. When we did film the next day, he wasn’t feeling well at all. It was a struggle for him to get through his lines without coughing. Another great challenge was having animals on-set. We had a german shepherd and two rats. For example, the opening sequence of the film features the german shepherd in the background. It took as many as 16 takes to get the dog to act the way we wanted. Having animals on-set was risky because you just don’t have much control of their movement, but I think that everything turned out great and having them added a lot to the film.
What is your goal for the movie?
My greatest goal with this short film is to show and inform people of the past. I want people to realize that there were many others who were beaten, and even killed for their faith in God. I believe that from their sacrifice we can be the nation that we are today, and freely worship God. Also, I want to call and encourage people today to stand for what is right, and to not be ashamed of being called believers, even if the culture is screaming otherwise. This film shows an important snippet of history that can’t be seen on the history channel. I believe that many will be impacted by watching this film. This film is in Russian, but don’t worry, it will be subtitled! It’s called 5 Words because the interrogated woman in this short only speaks 5 words (in Russian). The phrase is: “To live is Christ, and to die is gain”.
Please “like” the official Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/5WordsFilm) page for this project to receive updates and the official release date of the film. Also, I want to ask everyone to share this project with their friends and family, so that many people will get a chance to see this short film. Thank you Faith Flix Films for this opportunity to speak about 5 Words project!